Seabreeze and Carolina Beach

Seabreeze Map

Click – for detailed map

New – 7/26/15:  Images of Seabreeze – taken on March 16, 2006 – 6:33am – 8:25am

Source:  Our State, North Carolina – Oceanside Divide – By Herbert L. White

A small strip of land near Wilmington entertained thousands of visitors — some famous — during the Jim Crow era in North Carolina.

SeaBreeze[1]That was the allure of Seabreeze when it was a resort for African-Americans during the Jim Crow era. The place was born out of necessity: Segregation was the way of life then.

African-American men riding through Carolina Beach to access black-owned Bop City, now called Freeman Park, were required to wear shirts over their swimsuits.  African-American swimmers could access the ocean from Carolina Beach on Mondays only, although it was directly across from Seabreeze.

Monte Carlo at Seabreeze

Monte Carlo at Seabreeze

Seabreeze Beach ResortIn many ways, Seabreeze and Carolina Beach, resorts separated by a half-mile — one for blacks, the other for whites — were in different worlds.  Seabreeze, a nearly two-mile strip of unincorporated hamlet, was a busy seaside retreat tucked among mossy oaks and crape myrtles. It was the place to see and be seen.

Seabreeze was home to 31 juke joints, or taverns, where jukeboxes supplied the soundtrack of American culture and attitudes.

Seabreeze Shacks

Seabreeze

…. then ….

Seabreeze, 2008

Seabreeze, 2008

On October 15, 1954, Hurricane Hazel blew in from the Atlantic. Hazel’s estimated 140-mile-per-hour winds and 18-foot storm surge devastated Seabreeze. The hurricane littered the sound with debris from trees torn from their roots; homes caved in or blew from their foundations.

Rather than rebuild, many property owners shuttered entire lots, hastening Seabreeze’s demise with the loss of businesses.

continue reading this interesting history of the people of Seabreeze … from Our State Magazine

 

Source:  Our State, North Carolina:  Oceanside Divide – By Herbert L. White

A Reader Response: to Oceanside Divide

D Franklin Freeman PhD says:
April 19, 2014 at 13:09
Alexander Freeman was actually not a “Freed Slave” but a Free Person of Color i.e. Black and American Indian – our dates for him are 1788-1855. He is the son of Abraham Freeman (and a brother of my 6th Great Grandfather Moses Freeman) who is listed in the books as a Free Person of Color; and owned much land (thru land grants) around Columbus, Brunswick, Bladen and New Hanover, NC as well as Craven County, SC. We are apart of the currently named Waccamaw-Siouan and Lumbee Tribes. We are proud of our contributions to North Carolina. We just had family from Wilmington, Delco, Leland, Bolton and Buckhead visit our remaining family at Seabreeze last month. I hope that we are able to save this as a major part of North Carolina history.


…. But Wait!      … There’s More …… local content

From:  Oral History – Fessa’ John Hook – ‘Jim Hannah, One of the Two Original Beach Music Pioneers’

Visit Seabreeze AdSeabreeze was the black resort just up the coast across the Intracostal Waterway at Snow’s Cut. Originally called Freeman’s Beach from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, locals made a living serving black tourists with sandwiches, beer, and plenty of room for family picnics in the day and adult entertainment at night. Chicken Hicks found his way to Seabreeze in the early 40’s, returning often for white hot Carolina moonshine, and even hotter music on the piccolos (jukeboxes) at places like the Ponco, The Big Apple, the Daley Breezey Pavilion, Bruce’s, Ponco #2, the Monte Carlo, and as Jim recalled, “a place called Big Mama’s.”   … more »»»


From:  Oral History – Dorothy McQuillan – Part 4: ‘Freeman’

Seabreeze - Daley Breezy

Daley Breezy Pavilion

SeaBreeze had some boats that went across the water and you would dance til you got ready to come back over to this side.

It was an evening thing and a weekend thing, not an everyday thing. Everybody at Seabreeze worked weekends and holidays.

There used to be a place over there just for Blacks called Bop City. A lot of Black soldiers from Ft. Fisher used to come up to this neighborhood. Matter of fact, Dot’s sister married a soldier that used to be at Ft. Fisher in the service. Some of the Freemans married some of the guys that used to be down at Ft. Fisher.

Dot remembers Hurricane Hazel going through here tearing everything up. She saw the buildings from Carolina Beach floating down the Inland Waterway – refrigerators, stuff that come out of some of the businesses at Carolina Beach, furniture and big stuff from the houses came floating down the river. And at Seabreeze that water was almost to her mother’s house.   … more »»»


What is Seabreeze?
by: Ben Steelman,  May, 2009, Wilmington StarNews

“White kids from nearby Carolina Beach, such as Malcolm “Chicken” Hicks, would cross over to check out Seabreeze’s night spots and the local dance steps. Local historians such as Jenny Edwards — who wrote a master’s thesis on the history of Seabreeze for the University of North Carolina Wilmington — credit this musical cross-pollination with promoting, if not inspiring, the later crazes of shag dancing and beach music.”   … more »»»

Freeman Beach\Seabreeze, Wilmington, North Carolina (ca. 1885- )
by: Stephens, Ronald J. Blackpast.org

“Between the 1920s and the 1960s Freeman Beach\Seabreeze developed rich cultural traditions and history as blacks from across eastern and central North Carolina traveled for miles to experience the wooden dance floors and jukeboxes. With Freeman Beach they found a place to vacation, relax, and play. From the 1920s through the 1960s, the beach had three hotels, ten restaurants, dozens of rental cottages, a boat pier, a bingo parlor, and a small amusement park, complete with Ferris wheel. During the summer months thousands of visitors flocked to the area. ”  … more »»»

Brown. Girl. Farming

“As I got older, I learned more of my family history. For all of us, the only thing worse than not knowing our history is believing we have no history. My parents were from a small farming town in the Wilmington area called Lake Waccamaw, located on the shore of the largest natural lake in the eastern United States by the same name. Some historians claim Osceola, the great war chief of the Seminole Nation (of mixed Native American and African ancestry) was born on Lake Waccamaw. The lake feeds south and into the great Okefenokee Swamp which stretches through Florida.  

During slavery, many Africans and Native Americans escaped into these swamps. Their descendants cultivated farm land around the lake and throughout the Wilmington area. There is also a town in that area called Freeman, NC, founded by my grandmother’s great-grandfather, Alexander Freeman.

Following Alexander Freeman’s death, his son, Robert Bruce Freeman (b. 1830) inherited the land, and parlayed the investment to become one of the largest landowners in New Hanover county. In the 1920’s, [Robert’s heirs] began to develop a recreational community known as Seabreeze. During the Jim Crow years, Seabreeze was the only beach community in the state that black families could visit. When black people were forbidden from even traveling through Carolina Beach to get to Seabreeze, the Freeman family bought a boat to ferry people back and forth to the resort.”  … more »»»

 

 

No Reward for Finding Gold

By Bill Reaves

(Wilmington Morning Star, June 17, 1927)

Erosion at Ft. Fisher

Click

D. R. Connor, 97 years old, and a native of Robeson County, NC died on June 16, 1927, at the home of his daughter, Mrs, A. M. Roberts, 309 Dawson Street, in Wilmington, NC. He served in the War Between the States with North Carolina troops. He was among the defenders of Fort Fisher when that stronghold fell and was made a prisoner at the time of its capture.

Following the death of Connor, the Wilmington historian, Andrew J. Howell, recalled a story that he had been told by the deceased when they had a visit together earlier. Connor told Howell about finding a satchel of geld coins in the surf at Fort Fisher while he was a soldier there.

It was on the beach below the “Mound Battery” at the southeastern corner of the Fort, which has since been washed away. One morning he went to a secluded spot, where he often went for secret prayer, when he noticed an object in the shallow water close to the shore. He went for it, and found it to be a satchel containing some heavy material. When he opened it, his eyes fell upon a quantity of gold coins!

This was too big a discovery for a mere private to keep so he carried the bag to the headquarters of his company and was given the information that the officers would make the proper disposition of the money. He naturally expected to be rewarded with some of the prize, but he said he never received any of it. He felt pretty sure, however, that he afterwards could trace the whereabouts of at least some of the money.

Rose O'Neil Greenhow

Rose O’Neil Greenhow

The satchel was supposed to have been the property of Mrs. Rose Greenhow, the Confederate secret agent, who lost her life in the breakers while attempting to land from the blockade runner, Condor, on September 30, 1864.

Mr. Connor was an honored citizen of the Fair Bluff area of Columbus County, NC, and was much beloved by his fellow Confederate veterans, at whose reunions he was often seen.

(Wilmington Morning Star, June 17, 1927; June 19, 1927)

[This article was originally published in the January 1998 – FPHPS Newsletter]

Fort Fisher Revetment Project Nears Completion (March 1996)

[Originally published in the March, 1996 – FPHPS Newsletter]

At last month’s [Feb, 1996] meeting of the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society, Mr. Bill Dennis, a civil engineer with the US. Army Corps of Engineers – Wilmington District, presented a thorough site history and review of the Fort Fisher revetment project to a well-attended audience. Mr. Dennis, a native of New Jersey, began his slide presentation and discussion with a quick overview of the Federal Point area and how changes in its shape led to a need for a protective seawall to save the fort.

In 1761 a hurricane drastically reshaped Federal Point when it opened a passage known as New Inlet between the ocean and the Cape Fear River.

New Inlet, however, later played an important role during the Civil War as an entrance for sleek, fast blockade runners to slip past the Union fleet and enter the river under the protective guns of Fort Fisher. These ships were able to successfully deliver their valuable cargoes to Wilmington and on to the rest of the Confederacy until early 1865.

The Rocks2

‘The Rocks’ from Battery Buchanan to Zeke’s Island

Following the war, Federal Point again underwent a major transition in appearance when the US. Army Corps of Engineers closed New Inlet to improve river navigation. During the 1870s and 1880s the Corps built a stone structure known as “The Rocks” in two sections across the inlet and swash that still exists today.

The upper section of the dam extended from Battery Buchanan on Federal Point to Zeke‘s Island, a distance of 5,300 feet. The continuation of the lower section known as the Swash Defense Dam from Zeke’s Island to Smith’s Island [Bald Head Island], a distance of 12,800 feet, made the entire closure just over 3 miles in length.

Ft Fisher vs Erosion

Erosion at Ft. Fisher

In addition to the natural deterioration of Federal Point, serious erosion problems occurred near Fort Fisher alter the state intentionally removed coquina rock from the shore just north of the earthworks during the 1920s for use as road construction fill. Since that time approximately 200 yards of sea front has been lost to wave action.

This loss forced the state in the early 1950s to realign the very same highway that had been built with the use of the coquina rock. The North Carolina Highway Department, and later aided by local communities, then began dumping concrete and other large construction debris along the sea front near Battle Acre. As a further means of slowing erosion at Fort Fisher, the state placed a line of rocks along the shoreline in 1970. Storms since that time showed the revetment to be too short. Shoreline erosion continued at a rate of nearly 10 feet per year.

Since the end of the Civil War the ocean has claimed nearly half of the fort.

A more substantial solution to the site erosion problem came in 1995 when matching federal and state funds for a larger revetment project became available. The state and Corps of Engineers approved a plan for a permanent seawall based upon a design of Mr. Dennis.

After two years of planning, an acceptable design called for the construction of a 3,040-foot seawall to extend from south of Battle Acre to north of the Fort Fisher mounds.

Bids went out for the construction of the seawall. Selected for the construction project was Misener Marine Construction, Inc. of Tampa, Florida, at a bid of 4.6 million dollars.

Fort Fisher Rocks and BeachWork on the project began in June 1995, and included a multi-layered rubble revetment with circular tie-ins to natural ground on both ends of the site.

Beginning on the south end, the construction company dug a trench to 3.5 feet below mean sea level in which to lay the revetment ends. Within the trench at both ends, and along the shoreline, a fabric liner was first applied topped by a layer of gravel. Slightly larger bedding stone was then applied and finally a layer of armor stone.

The armor stone, weighing approximately two tons apiece, came from a quarry near Raleigh, while the smaller bedding stone was mined near Castle Hayne.

Approximately 68,000 tons of rock form the seawall.  Along Battle Acre the revetment overlaid most of the preexisting rubble. To prevent the new stone from washing into the sea from the sloping shoreline, Misener Marine placed a line of concrete sta-pods at the toe of the protective stone. Nearly four hundred of the pods, weighing 5 tons each and shaped like a tri-pod, were interlocked in a parallel row to the shoreline.

Reventment - Ft FisherSticking slightly above the water, marine algae soon covered the sta-pods.  On December 15 , 1995, Misener Marine placed the last rock in the revetment—nearly three months ahead of schedule.

The revetment rises slightly above the natural ground elevation at about 12-15 feet above sea level. Behind the revetment, sand was placed to form a gentle slope from the crest of the revetment to the existing ground. Currently landscaping with trees and scrubs is occurring near the revetment.

3,200-foot seawall completedat Fort Fisher Museum and Earthworks.

3,200-foot seawall completed (April, 1996)
at Fort Fisher Museum and Earthworks.

A security fence, walkway with stairs leading down to the beach on either end, and two observation gazebos are being constructed. The landscaping and construction projects are expected to be completed by April.

The new revetment should halt the ocean-side erosion of Federal Point for the next fifty years.

Mr. Dennis summarized his work on the design and construction of the seawall project when he jokingly indicated, “It took a Yankee to finally save Fort Fisher.”

 

March 1996 Newsletter (pdf) – Federal Point Historic Preservation Society

Changes to the Federal Point Landscape – webpage – Federal Point Historic Preservation Society

US. Army. Corps of Engineers:
Revetment stability study,  Fort Fisher State Historic Site

The “New” Carolina Beach Boardwalk

By Rebecca Taylor

Update:  The Carolina Beach Boardwalk was featured on PBS, ‘North Carolina Weekend‘.  UNC-TV  Thursday, Jun. 18 at 9:00 pm

New Board Walk #1 Have you been to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk in the past few months? If not make sure you visit soon – because it’s a whole new experience!

The Town of Carolina Beach and a group of local citizens from the Boardwalk Makeover Group, which was founded in 2008, have collaborated to create a stunning new look to the oceanfront at Carolina Beach.

Twice as wide as before, with 10 foot wide handicap accessible public beach accesses, the new structure includes seating areas, swings, benches, covered gazebos and sail shades. Also new is a beach-side stage/viewing area to feature a wide variety of performances. Landscape coves provide space for historical and environmental education kiosks, shaded seating, and picnic facilities.

For over a hundred years the Carolina Beach Boardwalk has drawn visitors to this area going back to 1887 when Captain John  Original BoardwalkHarper built the first pavilion, the Oceanic Hotel, and the first walkway along the beach. In those days visitors took one of Captain Harper’s steamships down the Cape Fear River to “Sugar Loaf” and then transferred to the Shoo-Fly train for the trip from the riverside to the ocean.

That first Boardwalk was just that, a walkway on the sand made from boards, so that daily visitors could stroll along enjoying the ocean breezes, without sinking into the sand up to their high-button shoes.

Early Boardwalk with Shoe-fly By the time the Town of Carolina Beach was incorporated in 1925 a variety of carnival type rides and games joined the shops of local proprietors along the walkway creating a family friendly attraction, and a place to catch the cool ocean breezes in the days before air conditioning.

The Thirties brought hard times for almost everyone, but in March of 1936 the Wilmington Star reported, “The State WPA announced approval of an additional allocation of $6,570 for construction of boardwalks at Carolina Beach. This was estimated to provide employment for 32 persons. The building of a public rest room, costing $3,430 and employing 18 persons, was also approved.”

Over the years a number of storms and fires damaged or destroyed various buildings along the boardwalk, as most construction was simple wooden framework, meant to be used just 3 months of the year. However, in September 1940, a devastating fire destroyed most of the business district including the Bame Hotel and most of the Boardwalk storefronts and amusements.

By June, 1941, Carolina Beach was being called “The Nation’s Miracle Beach.”  The StarNews reported, “Carolina Beach Postcard from 1940sopened tonight for the new season. Aside from the new $500,000 midway and business district, hundreds of new cottages and guest houses had been built during the winter and spring. The famous midway was more varied this year than previously. There were more rides, more concessions, larger stores, longer and wider boardwalks, more benches, and public drinking fountains, and a bathing strand which was one-third wider than last year.”

Postcard from 1950s The 1940’s and 50’s are sometimes called the Boardwalk’s “Golden Years.” Wartime brought soldiers on leave from area military bases, and with the economic rebound, families experiencing “vacations” for the first time. The uniquely coastal Carolina dance, “The Shag,” was invented by local teenagers who hung around jukeboxes stationed directly on the boardwalk. Many locals who grew up at that time remember playing under the Boardwalk, and fishing coins from the sand with sticks tipped with chewing gum.

Unfortunately, the 1960’s and 1970’s brought hard times, as the way people vacationed began to change. Air conditioning, television, and apartment type condos, all kept people inside in the evenings. Bars and a rougher crowd began to dominate the businesses that survived.

Then, in 2007 the Town of Carolina Beach revised zoning laws to encourage more desirable New Boardwalk #2businesses to re-locate to the Boardwalk and in 2008 the Boardwalk Makeover Group invited amusements back each summer. Town leaders and staff found funding, in part, from grants from New Hanover County, the NC Division of Water Resources, and the NC Division of Coastal Management.

The first and last pictures (of the modern Boardwalk) are courtesy of Southern Digital Art. The historic pictures are from the collection of the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society.

 

 

From the President: May, 2015

Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

This 1961 card shows the Carolina Beach Yacht Basin also called Boat Basin looking south.

Landmarks include the Carolina Beach Lake, Fisherman’s Steel Pier and the Municipal Building just south of the basin. Prior to 1939 when the canal and basin were dredged and widened, Myrtle Grove Sound was a very narrow meandering slough in places.

The dredge spoil created additional building lots and a new street called Canal Drive. Because of the possible instability of the land especially west of the new street, a twenty-five year moratorium was in place before building was allowed.

The canal connected to the Intracoastal Waterway and Snow’s Cut which was completed in 1930, but ocean access for our fishing fleets remained limited to Southport or Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville Beach.

Carolina Beach Aireal shot

 

The Historic Joy Lee Apartments

Joy Lee front[Editor’s Note, 1997: In every developing community, certain structures epitomize detail and design during periods of that development.

Staff of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, as well as many of the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society members, felt that Joy Lee Apartments on Carolina Beach Avenue, North at Carolina Beach represented a period of growth in the 1940s that has lasted throughout the last 50 years and is still flesh and useful.

For this reason, Beth Keane graciously volunteered her time and in nominating the beautiful resort attraction to the National Register of Historic Places. As of this writing (early April, 1996), the nomination has passed the local and State level of significance and is being reviewed for national significance. Many thanks to Beth for her contribution to the Federal Point community].

By Beth Keane

Grover Lewis, a masonry construction worker, together with his family, moved to Carolina Beach from High Point, North Carolina, in March, 1941. Mr. Lewis went to work for the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company and moved his family into the Marianette Cottage on Carolina Avenue, North.

When the lot next door was filled in by a storm in the fall of 1944, the Lewis’s decided to purchase it. Mr. Lewis immediately began designing the Joy Lee Apartment Building. Long shipyard hours made it necessary for Mr. Lewis to hire William Bordeaux to build the basic concrete block structure.

After purchasing a hand-operated cement block press, the Lewis family turned out two blocks at a time, approximately fifty per evening.

Named the Joy Lee Apartments after Mr. Lewis’s daughter, the completed duplex was rented to vacationers. Each apartment consisted of a living room, a dining room, a kitchen with an ice box, two bedrooms, each with a closet, and a central hall. Considered luxury units at the time, they came equipped with private porches and private baths with hot and cold running water.

After the war, Mr. Lewis returned to masonry construction work. For the next ten years, Mrs. Lewis ran a large rooming-house, as well as the Joy Lee Apartment Complex. The growth of Carolina Beach doubled during this time period; by 1950, there was a year-round population of 1,080.

Joy Lee poolDue to the popularity of the Joy Lee Apartment Building as a vacation destination, the Annex was constructed in 1948. While similar in form and structure to the original building, stylistically it exhibits design elements reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style.

Carolina Beach experienced widespread devastation several times during the past 50 years. Hurricane Hazel roared ashore with 150 miles per hour winds on October 15, 1954. Hurricane Diana struck in 1984 and last but not least, Hurricanes Bertha and Fran in 1996.

Suffering only minor water damage and some roof damage, the solid masonry construction allowed the Joy Lee Apartment Building to weather these storms intact.

The Joy Lee Apartment Building and Annex are a unique combination of several popular architectural styles, including Mission Style, Art Deco, Art Moderne, as well as the Prairie Style.

After the 1940 fire which destroyed many of the frame structures at Carolina Beach, cinder-block construction became a popular substitute. Not only was it deemed more durable, but because of the war effort, more traditional building materials were in short supply.

Over the years, the Lewis family has modified the Joy Lee Apartment Building several times to remain competitive with more modern buildings being constructed around it, including replacing bathroom showers with bathtubs in 1954, adding a lanai and portico in 1957, and an office and fireplaces in 1960. Major improvements in 1976 included enlarging the dining area with a bay addition, adding spiral cement stairs to the upper level sundeck, and installing an in-ground swimming pool.

While the Town of Carolina Beach has replaced many of its earlier structures with contemporary hotels, motels, and cottages, the Joy Lee Apartments is an original, built from the imagination and ingenuity of a World War II shipyard worker. The solid construction of the Joy Lee should ensure its survival, while continuing to provide Carolina Beach visitors with a glimpse into the past.

[This article was originally published in the April 1997 – FPHPS Newsletter]

The Joy Lee Apartments were entered into the National Register of Historic Places on April 3, 1997 (see plaque)

Newton Homesite and Cemetery

Report By: Linda and Bob Newton

Newton Graveyard & Homesite SignThe Newton Homesite and Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 13, 1997, thereby providing it with the protection of both Federal and State laws.

 Dow Rd., Carolina Beach, NC

Dow Rd., Carolina Beach, NC

This four-acre site which is owned by the Federal government and maintained by the Department of the Army (MOTSU) is located between the Cape Fear River and Dow Road in an area adjacent and south of the Federal Point Methodist Cemetery. It consists of both an eighteenth to early nineteenth century homeplace and a cemetery containing grave markers with the surnames of Newton, Craig, Dosher, and Grissom, all well known early settlers of the area who become river and blockade runner pilots.

FP Methodist Cemetery Entrance RoadOral reports maintain that up to 40 markers may have existed there at one time and one deed references a “colored people’s graveyard” adjacent to it. Newspaper articles have suggested that the “Meeting House” and cemetery left by Edward Newton, Jr. in his will dated 1844 could be the site of the oldest Methodist Church in the State of North Carolina.

This site is significant as an example of early regional settlement which can also be associated with the region’s early maritime industries as it represents one of the earliest Euro-Amenican domestic settlements discovered on the east side of the lower Cape Fear River.

Newton Cemetery - National Register of Historic Places Sign - 1997

Newton Cemetery – National Register of Historic Places – 1997
(click)

It is one of only a handful of domestic sites which have been identified from the early settlement period of the Cape Fear peninsula, and it is one of only two sites identified as a small plantation associated with the eighteenth through early nineteenth century in this region, and it is one of only four possible maritime-related sites identified in Federal Point. Data from this site would serve as excellent comparative material in conjunction with other sites in the area such as Brunswick Town and the lighthouse keeper’s site on Battlefield Acre.

Members of the newly formed Cemetery Committee have attended three meetings with representatives from MOTSU, St. Paul’s Methodist Church and the Newton family to discuss the use, protection, restrictions and restoration of the site. In response to a letter written by David Brooks, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, to Colonel Toal, dated July 24, 1997, a meeting, was held July 31, 1997, and directions were given for short-term protection of the site against continuing ground disturbing activities which could damage or destroy archeological elements within the site.

The Society was asked to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) outlining restrictions for the care and use of the site. On September 30, 1997, after review by Society member, Attorney Gleason Allen, a proposed MOA concerning the preservation, maintenance and restoration of the site was signed by President Cheri McNeill and forwarded to MOTSU.

Newton Cemetery Historic Site

Newton Cemetery Historic Site
(click)

In a letter, dated October 6, 1997, from MOTSU, receipt of the MOA was confirmed and states that review by the State Historic Preservation Office in Raleigh and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Washington is in progress and should be complete in several months. Until the MOA is signed, preservation activities may be pursued on an individual basis with the permission of MOTSU.

The Society now maintains a Cemetery Fund to be used in the care and maintenance of the cemetery and any donated amount would be greatly appreciated. The Committee is working on gathering funds for constructing a picket fence and posting signage. Individuals wishing to donate to the Cemetery Fund to help with these projects, contact Darlene Bright.

[Text originally published in the November, 1997 – FPHPS Newsletter with images added in 2015]

 

[Additional current Newton Cemetery resources]

Memorial: Linda and Bob Newton

Oral History – Howard Hewett – Federal Point Methodist Episcopal Church (adjacent to Newton Cemetery)

View images of the Federal Point Methodist Church Cemetery – and the adjacent Newton Cemetery – taken on November 12, 2014

Complete listing of the tombstones in the Newton Homesite & Cemetery (2007)

 

 

Walter’s Place at Fort Fisher

[This article appeared in the Wilmington Dispatch on September 1, 1923, and comes from the William M. Reaves Collection]

Walter's Place

Walter’s Place

There is a little wooden shack, almost at the point of the peninsular in the southern end of New Hanover County and situated between “The Mound” at Fort Fisher and the sea. The shack serves to designate the establishment known as Walter’s Place.

Fort Fisher and its history have come down to us from the Civil War, and its flag-topped mound, its monument and its strategic location and inspirational surroundings are not new, but Walter’s Place is a creation of the year 1923.

Situated on the final loop of the Fort Fisher highway, Walter’s Place offers many attractions to visitors and fishermen alike. The establishment is run as a cool drink stand and bath house. But it is becoming famous for its fish suppers and lunch service for fishing parties. Cold drinks, hot sandwiches and lunches are readily available and will be specially prepared upon-notice.

Walter’s Place – on right
Click

From Walter’s Place you can go fishing in the river, bay at the “Rocks” or out to sea. Boats, tackle and bait are kept on hand for deep sea fishing and the old banks and wreck of Modern Greece offer the best place for this sport.

Fort Fisher Fishing Pier 1936-1954.

1936-1954
Confederate Memorial at Battle Acre in background

“The Cribben,” Buzzard’s Bay, “The Rocks” and the river are also within easy distance. A Ford car and a motorcycle are kept on the beach to take fishing parties quickly along the beach sands to the inlet or any of the other places nearby.

The owners of this popular shore establishment are Walter Winner and his pretty sister, Iona Winner. The latter keeps shop while the former is away with fishing parties and in quest of supplies.

[Originally published in the August 1996– FPHPS Newsletter]

Archaeological Testing Conducted at Burris Site and Civil War Earthworks Located

… in Carolina Beach

[Text was originally published in the March, 1996 – FPHPS Newsletter]

by Sandy Jackson

Sugar Loaf Earthworks 3-21-14

Sugar Loaf Earthworks 3-21-14

In articles that appeared last August [1995] and November [1995] in the FPHPS Newsletter, I mentioned that Society president – Lynn Benson and Mr. Jack Hart visited an archaeological site known as the Burris Site located in Carolina Beach behind the Federal Point Shopping Center.

Mr. Hart, a descendent of the prominent Burris family in the Federal Point community, indicated that an old chimney standing on the site was all that remained of a house built by his great-grandfather, James Thomas Burris, in the early 1800s.

Additionally, Ms. Benson recalled the presence of a child’s grave with a headstone at the site although it could not be relocated. The grave was believed to have belonged to one of nine children of James Thomas Burris and his wife Isadora.

Also located in the vicinity were the remains of Civil War earthworks.

The Burris site and earthworks, unfortunately, were located on property owned and under development by Gulfstream Group, Inc. to be known as Carolina Beach Village.

The developers, required by the US. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a cultural investigation of the area, contracted with an archaeological firm to investigate the site and provide a determination on its significance.

In late October and early November 1995, Coastal Carolina Research, Inc., of Tarboro, North Carolina, conducted limited archaeological testing and documentation of three areas of the proposed Carolina Beach Village.

The firm conducted the study for the Gulfstream Group, in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

The purpose of the study was to determine if the three archaeological resources within the study area were potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The first of the three sites was the reported location of the Burris farm. The site included a standing chimney of the original house and remnants of later outbuildings.

The second site was a small lunette, or rifle pit, associated with the defenses of Fort Fisher during the Civil War known as the Sugarloaf Line.

CB Earthworks Clearing

Cleared Sugarloaf Earthworks – March 2014

The third site also contained a portion of earthworks associated with the Sugarloaf Line, but was located outside the current permit area for Carolina in Beach Village. They were investigated in anticipation of future development of the tract.

The house at the Burris site is thought to date from around 1840 and appears on Civil War maps of the area. Only the brick chimney survived. This feature measured 4.6 feet wide and 2.3 feet deep.

The stack had a single shoulder and was stepped back. There had been a major repair in the front of the chimney with some concrete blocks added, as well as evidence of recent mortar. An archaeological test unit placed at the east base of the chimney yielded a mixture of mortar and recent artifacts.

Archaeologists also placed two other excavation units and a number of shovel test holes within the vicinity. Although a number of artifacts found during the investigation dated to the mid-nineteenth century, the material clearly came from disturbed contexts. A substantial amount of modern debris was found on the surface and within the upper soil layer of the units.

The remains of an outbuilding, possibly a smokehouse, were recorded in the adjacent woods. That structure was frame and had been constructed with more recent wire nails. No evidence of intact deposits was found at the Burris site, and its integrity had been destroyed over the years. The site did not appear eligible the National Register of Historic Places, and no additional work was recommended.

CB Earthworks Clearing - March 2014

CB Earthworks Clearing – March 2014

The nearby Civil War earthworks associated with the Sugarloaf Line were also examined. At the feature referred to as a lunette, or rifle pit, the archaeologists prepared a topographic map. The lunette was then bisected with a backhoe trench and a profile drawn. The structure measured approximately 20 x 40 feet with the shape of a waxing moon, hence the term lunette.

The profile showed that the more vertical, high side of the mound was to the west, sloping to the east. This would have provided the maximum protection to the troops, as expected invasions would have come from the east.

The lunette retained its contours and approximate shape. The site appeared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a feature of the Sugarloaf Line of defenses for Fort Fisher. The documentation at the site served to mitigate the adverse impacts on the site as a result of the construction of the development.

The final earthworks are apparently an entrenchment also associated with the defensive line. An entrenchment can be any temporary or permanent fortification that provides shelter hostile fire, serves as an obstacle to hostile advance, and allows the maximum use of firepower by the defenders.

They would commonly possess an exterior ditch, which provides not only an obstacle to enemy attack, but also the fill for the embankment. The earthworks appear on maps made of the vicinity during the Civil War.

The dissected linear earthworks trend the southwest to northeast and are outside of the current development boundaries; however, the road that will access that area falls in the break between the two sections.

Lewis Park property

2014 – across from CB Town Hall

The soil, vegetation, and the expanded trunks of the trees indicate that the vicinity was a swamp prior to extensive drainage in the area. The earthworks were apparently constructed to the swamp, where they stopped, and were then continued on the other side of the swamp.

No artifacts were recovered at he earthworks. The earthworks are well preserved and eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as a component of the Sugarloaf Line.

The Gulfstream Development Group plans to erect a fence and an identification sign for both sections of this protected earthwork thereby preserving the site.

March, 1996 – FPHPS Newsletter

 

 

 

From the President: April, 2015

Elaine Henson

Elaine Henson

This is a photo of Carolina Beach’s float in the 1955 Azalea Festival Parade and it says that Carolina is “A Whale of a Beach.”

The same float was in the 1954 parade and was later parked on Carl Winner Avenue across from the yacht basin and beside the Chamber of Commerce Building for all to see.

Whale in HazelIt was there on October 15, 1954 when Category Four Hurricane Hazel blasted our shores; amazingly it survived as you can see in this Hugh Morton photo.

For the ’55 parade they added “More Alive in Fifty-Five” to reassure everyone that Carolina Beach was up and running for beach season and better than ever.

WhaleBack in those days Carolina and Wrightsville Beaches always had floats in the parade, maybe we should do that again!